How to Use Telemedicine to Survive Covid-19 Isolation?

The unexpected lockdown enforced on billions on people around the globe to fight the COVID-19 pandemic has created a crisis in medical care access. Millions are struggling with disrupted routine medical care needs and have been postponing hospital visits fearing exposing themselves to the highly contagious virus.

Telemedicine to Survive Covid-19 Isolation

Despite the lockdown, it is a matter of hope that we are not completely cut out from each other. Despite the physical distance people are in touch with each other via different interactive platforms and audio and video technology.

Today we have access to an entire virtual universe at the tips of our fingers. We are able to work from our homes, order our food, find the news we need, access the entertainment we seek and much more. With the lockdown, we have expressly discovered ways we can stay remote and yet operate efficiently. We have been praying, playing and mourning through our video interfaces. We have been rewiring our interactions with this world to get ahead of the tough times presented to us.

When we can do so much staying remote and yet feel we aren’t so cut off hasn’t it struck you that maybe medical care can also be made available via telecommunication networks?

Well yes, it can be. Numerous medical facilities and clinics are offering telemedicine or virtual care options of various scales today and are connecting doctors to patients via sterile, no-contact virtual environments.
What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine refers to a broad spectrum of modern technologies and tactics used to deliver virtual medical, health, and education services remotely and functions with the assistance of various interfaces like synchronous and asynchronous video, audio and mobile communication technology.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in its guidance issued regarding HIPAA compliance, has said that medical practitioners can make use of available non-public facing video interfaces used ‘in good faith’ to connect with their patients and that the overarching privacy protocols laid down by the HIPAA regulations will be eased temporarily.

How does it work?

Telemedicine takes the process of meeting a doctor to a virtual plane altogether. There will be no front office or physical infrastructure for patients to register their appointment. Instead, they will be booking their appointment online and getting an email or SMS link to a video or audio call. There are three ways patients can meet with their doctors-

Synchronous or live video: In the synchronous mode there will be live, two-way interaction between the patient and doctor using common, popular audiovisual telecommunication technologies like Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video or Skype.

Asynchronous or store and forward: In asynchronous mode, patients and doctors do not meet each other live real-time, instead they exchange recorded health information, like radiographs, photographs, video, digital impressions and photomicrographs through secure electronic communication systems.

Remote patient monitoring (RPM): In RPM, personal health and medical data is collected from an individual in one location via electronic communication technologies and is transmitted to a provider (sometimes via a data processing service), in a different location to gain access to a virtual caregiver.

Apart from this the public can also leverage mobile phone networks to access medical care.

The doctors, who receive patient information via any of these means then use it to evaluate a patient’s condition and perform an online triage. Depending upon the condition of the patient they may then recommend an e-prescription for medicines or refer the patient to an open medical facility where they can approach for in-person care.

Most telemedicine portals and software also have inbuilt payment modes to make the process truly seamless and digital.
Medical privacy and telemedicine

Medical care in the US is ruled by the stringent HIPAA regulations that protects patient privacy. Telemedicine obviously poses several challenges to the maintenance of these protocols. Several technologies used for virtual consultations are not HIPAA compliant.

To tackle this, the authorities have sanctioned temporary leniency in the regulations and have allowed the use of more personalized communication technologies.

Apart from this, the state agencies have also mandated that the providers must notify patients that the third-party applications used in the audio and video interfaces carry potential privacy risks, and should try and enable all available encryption and privacy modes possible while using such applications.

The state directive also expressly bans the usage of public-facing video communication applications like Facebook Live, Twitch and TikTok.
Is telemedicine recognized by insurance carriers?

Under the regulatory flexibilities announced in the wake of the corona outbreak, the insurance companies have extended coverage to telemedicine treatment codes in both medical and dental care services. All that needs to be done is to add the special codes denoting the telemedicine service or the teledentistry service to the existing treatment code protocol while submitting a claim.
Is telemedicine the future of medicine?

Telemedicine is not something very new. Several caregivers have used telemedicine in different formats to help elderly, immobile, remotely located or differently-abled patients. Even teledentistry is popular in several parts of the United States. At several places teledentistry follow-ups are also simplified and there are doctors and dentists who visit patients at their homes to save them the trouble of traveling to get to a medical facility.

With the exigent situation brought in by the COVID-19 outbreak, several millions will start realizing the convenience offered by telemedicine. With telemedicine, even during normal times, people can save travel and avoid skipping office days to meet doctors. This will also be extensively helpful for the less mobile patients or patients recovering from invasive surgeries and are going through long periods of rest and recovery. Moreover, it is safer than visiting any hospital or dental practice anyday as secure home environs mitigate cany chances of accidental germ exposure.

With its potential to extend exposure-free care to remote locations, reduce crowding at medical facilities, make quality care access almost 24*7 and reduce travel and establishment costs, one can truly see teledentistry assuming more importance in the post COVID era.

Few Impact of Covid 19 On Schools

A school is a place where students from all walks of life come under one roof to gain education. It is devoid of any barrier which arises due to economic, social and financial differences.

Few Impact of Covid 19 On Schools

With the pandemic of this magnitude, it is undoubtedly a humungous task to overcome it. In India, 33% of its population is students. Imagine the impact on the future of our country if a major part of this population is affected. The real danger to schools comes from the high rate at which this virus can spread within premises. A single infected student can affect his whole classroom in a day. If required actions are not taken timely, it can actually affect the entire school at a much greater pace than imagined.

The best thing that was done in this crisis was the closure of schools all across the country. Although it came as a huge setback to this entire sector, this was imperative to take this action. Now let’s quickly get down to see the areas that bear the brunt of the situation.

Working is hampered: Every school has an infrastructure to maintain, which calls in for a fixed amount of expenditure. With the schools shutting down, the normal working of the school has stopped. The institution is still bearing these costs even when there are no classes, gradually inculcating it all into loses.

Fee submission: It is one of the most sought-after topics among the teachers and parents these days. The school has to pay the teachers even when the classes and regular school are not happening. But the parents are not ready to pay the regular quarterly fees as there are practically no classes this month and the next two months are summer vacations. Some are even speculating that the schools will not even open full-fledged before July. In this scenario, the school authorities are in great dilemma while tackling the situation.

Online studies: With the closure of schools for an indefinite period of time, they have taken the resort of organising online classes. The teachers are taking their classes through apps like teams, zoom etc. Technology has surely proven a boon in this time when the students are engaged in fruitful activities for half a day at least. But a school is majorly known for overall developing the personality of the child, which is only possible once the teacher and students are face to face. Thus, the schools are able to fully justify the expectations.

No sports: The school is not only a place for academic education. It is also known for providing the exposure of various sports and activities like dance, music, taekwondo, gymnastics etc. These activities have taken a complete backseat with this lockdown.

Time duration: A normal school timing constitutes for the major engagement in every student’s life. They are bound by regulation and discipline due to this. But with this coronavirus, the complete schedule of kids has gone for a toss. The timings have been cut down drastically and to keep every student engaged for the complete duration of the class has become a task for the teachers.

Due to this, the admission process is also affected this year. But to see the positive side to this, it has given all of us a good chance to research well, the apt school for the child. If you are looking out for good boarding schools in Dehradun , do consider SelaQui International School . It is one of the best residential schools in Dehradun. They holistically offer experiential education with equal focus on extra-curricular activities, apart from just academics.

Nestled among the idyllic Uttarakhand, it has an expansive campus of 52 acres. The school’s vision statement highlights a commitment to values, excellence and leadership. The school is committed in inspiring young minds to develop their true potential.

Life moves on and will surely come back on track soon. With this thought, we all are patiently managing our work/study schedules positively. The students are the most considerate amongst all of us as they are patiently and efficiently coping with the changes in their life. We all should be acknowledging their efforts and contribution in combating covid19 crisis.